Odell Beckham’s Lawyer Responds to Plane Flap

Thom Weidlich 12.01.22


The bizarre incident in which NFL free agent Odell Beckham Jr. was hauled off an American Airlines plane in Miami prompted a response from his lawyer. It’s tough to vouch for the truthfulness of the statement, as we weren’t there. But it’s an example of invoking facts rather than emotion — though there was some of that — in publicly making one’s case.

During the Sunday episode, the flight crew reportedly called on the Miami-Dade Police Department because of a medical emergency; Beckham was “in and out of consciousness” as the crew tried to wake him before takeoff, according to a police statement. Fearing his illness would worsen during the flight to Los Angeles, the crew asked him to deplane, but he refused. So everyone was forced off and then the officers got Beckham to vamoose.

American Airlines issued a statement saying “a customer” refused to follow the crew’s orders and fasten his seatbelt, according to ESPN.

‘Normal Practice’

Later on Sunday, Beckham’s New Orleans-based lawyer, Daniel E. Davillier, put out a statement taking issue with these characterizations of events.

Davillier said his client “fell asleep with his blanket over his head, which is his normal practice for long flights.” Wakened, he was told he needed to exit the plane because he refused to buckle up, the lawyer said, adding that Beckham (pictured) told the attendant he had been snoozing and would don his seatbelt. But he was informed it was too late.

That was a very factual defense that at least made his client sound less unreasonable than the “official” statements. In crisis messaging, facts are your friends — or should be.

Davillier did then go in for some emotion, referring to the “overzealous flight attendant” who “wanted to prove that he had the authority to have Mr. Beckham removed from the flight.” Davillier concluded: “This incident was unnecessary. Sleeping on a plane should not be a cause for removal from a flight.”

Team Meetings

So what’s the upshot of this? We hear about people being booted from planes all the time, just not people this famous. Beckham wasn’t arrested, and the event seems not to have hurt him too much. The timing is strange in that the wide receiver, who hasn’t played since being injured in February’s Super Bowl, is meeting this week with new teams to sign with.

The consensus seems to be that the Dallas Cowboys are the frontrunners to nab him. The Miami incident isn’t of concern, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. “His overall team compatibility, his judgment, his behavior is not an issue with him.”

Photo Credit: DFree/Shutterstock

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